Josh Rogosin

I've recorded over 500 Tiny Desk concerts and, of course, have countless favorites. But which sound the best? Well here they are, according to me — the guy mixing the performances and bopping his head along just off (and sometimes on) screen.

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Sting and Shaggy might not be the most likely musical pairing. But one thing is certain, they love playing each other's music. On a bright autumn morning, the legends arrived at the NPR Music office bleary-eyed yet excited to play for the diverse staff of Shaggy and Sting fans. What surprised many of my NPR colleagues is just how well the collaboration works.

One of Bob Boilen's requests at the Tiny Desk is that no musician play louder than the singers can project without amplification, which has the effect of equalizing audience and performers, creating an intimate and balanced sound that's never too loud in the room. But when sound engineers need to reinforce venues bigger than an office, it's impossible to balance the sound in every area of the room. If you prefer to be close to the stage, you'll inevitably be a lot closer to the loudspeakers, where volume levels can become uncomfortably loud.

Her nervousness was palpable and stood in stark contrast to her fully produced stage show. "I'm sorry I'm shy," Florence Welch told the crowd of NPR family and friends gathered for her Tiny Desk performance. "If this was a big gig, I'd probably be climbing all over here and running around."